How to Transform Your Child’s Screen-Time into Relationships and Connection

LauraAll Posts, Motherhood


Usually, I wait until I’ve tried something for a while before I share it with you. But this time, I’m so excited about an idea that I’m going to share it with you before we’ve truly taken it on the road.

I think it’s a good one…

This particular idea was birthed from desperation.

Here’s the scenario: A child asks a great question like, “How do submarines get into the water in the first place?” or “Where do sloths live?” or “How did the Russians survive their economic crisis?”

Until recently, I’d say, “I don’t know. Let’s look it up!”

We’d gather around my phone or computer as I type in “How do submarines get into the water”…

Then – defying all filters – strange graphic medical imagery, violent movie ads, and mostly-naked people show up in ads, video options, and images.  As soon as these images appear on the screen, I try to shield the screen, move away from the kids, or close the laptop and say, “Well, I’ll just have to look this up later.”

The worst part is that although I feel irritated by the technology, I tend to take my irritation out on the children. And all they did was ask a good question.

The stress and disappointment of exposing my children to junk over and over again (precisely when they are thinking and wondering), is too much for me.


So, here’s my newly minted idea:

When my kids ask a question, I thumb through my mental Rolodex of Friends-and-Relations and look for someone we know who may know the answer.

Then, we call them on the phone or ask them in person. 

I love this idea because it connects us into our natural community, builds relationships, develops communication skills, and causes us to respect the knowledge and expertise of our friends.

I love it because it honors the child’s wonder, exchanging human thought for human thought without visual pollution. (Or the stress of having to “Look away, sweetie.” “Try to forget that scary image.” “Well, maybe we just have to get used to seeing lots of cellulite.”)

It’s simple. It’s classic. I think it’s gonna work.

And…we’re off to a great start! In fact, just today we received a call from a friend answering our question about submarines. The conversation at the lunch table was, “I had no idea that Mr. Mark is a submarine expert! He’s actually been on a submarine?!”